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Columbus Junction City Hall

Columbus Junction City Hall

COLUMBUS JUNCTION — A proposal for raising Columbus Junction water rates was presented to the city council during its regular meeting Wednesday.

Mayor Mark Huston asked the city council to review the proposal, but there was little discussion on the three options included in it.

According to a copy of the proposal, the first option included a $5 increase to the minimum charge only, raising the current $16 fee to $21 per 2000 gallon. That option would raise an additional $49,350 in annual water revenue for the city.

The second option would boost the minimum rate by $4 and tie an additional $1 per 1000 gallon increase to any usage over the minimum 2000 gallons. The current overage rate is $6.26 per 1000 gallons. Around $55,211 in additional revenue would be raised through this option, according to proposal.

The third option would boost the minimum charge by $3 and any usage over 2000 gallons by $2 per 1000 gallons. City officials estimated the third option would increase the city’s water revenue by $61,703.

Huston assigned the proposal to the city’s finance committee of council members Frank Best and Hal Prior and asked them to provide a recommendation by the next meeting.

He said the city last raised water rates four years ago.

“We’re past due,” he explained to the council.

In a related update, the council received a report summarizing the amount of water provided by Columbus Junction to neighboring Columbus City, commercial users, residential users and water users outside of the city limits.

According to the report, Columbus City received around 630,000 gallons of water in April and Columbus Junction received an income of around $1,544. There were 61 commercial water users supplied with 388,100 gallons, with a total income to the city of almost $2,631.

The report showed Columbus Junction supplied a total of 64,100 gallons of water to 22 users outside of the city limits in April, with the city receiving around $699 in revenue.

Columbus Junction residents comprised the largest number of water users. The report showed 672 residential customers, with total consumption of 2,723,300 gallons of water in April. Those users provided almost $19,113 in water revenue for the city.

Huston said the information was provided to give the council a “few more facts” on the city’s water usage.

Meanwhile, water also figured in a second, but more troubling, discussion. Heavy rains that recently fell on the area caused an estimated 800-foot section of Oakview Drive east of the high school to slip, causing major damage to at least one home and disruptions to water and other city services.

Huston said city engineer Matt Walker was moving forward with obtaining engineering assistance to develop a recovery plan, but in the meantime city crews had established a two-inch temporary water line to serve residences affected by the slide.

The city has also graveled the roadway so residents could access their property.

“It’s going to be a tough problem and I don’t have the answer,” Huston said about repairs, explaining the city would first need to get cost estimates to complete studies before even deciding what repair work could be done.

Officials said other smaller impacts were reported in other parts of the town.

In other action:

  • Parks and recreation board chair Bev Nielsen updated the council on several board projects
  • Community development director Mallory Smith introduced intern Ellie Mullins, Solon, and provided updates on activities her department would be holding in June.

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